Tamsin Langrishe shares 7 valuable tips for applying coaching skills at work.
– 5 mins read –
Even with a daily reminder, it is easy to miss opportunities to apply a newly learned mindset and skills. In fact, “learning transfer” has been a tricky topic in corporate education for many years.
At Performance Consultants we have been addressing the challenge of applying coaching skills at work ever since Sir John Whitmore founded the company and developed the Coaching for Performance programmes. So, what have we learned from the classroom about transferring a coaching mindset and skills to the workplace?
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“When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower”Alexander den Heijer
1. Connect to your inspiring goal
Without personal accountability and self-motivation, it is hard to stay committed to apply what you have learned. Get really clear on how a coaching leadership style will move you closer to the future you want to create. Put a reminder near your desk of your vision and what you want to achieve. When you see it each morning set your intention for the day. What is the best that could possibly happen if you applied your coaching mindset and skills to all your meetings?
2. Build a support network
If you leave one of our workshops and return to an environment where the culture does not support a coaching style, it can feel odd at first to apply your new skills. Identify a buddy from your training group, an influential person in your workplace and others who you can share your successes and challenges with and who will hold you accountable for change.
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3. Use the GROW Model
It is simple, effective and versatile. GROW is like a life-raft you can cling to until you are confident enough to strike out on your own. Even at the most basic level, following GROW and asking powerful questions and actively listening will make a big difference to your impact as a leader.
4. Educate those around you
If you go back to your organization and start behaving very differently – which you will if you are applying a coaching leadership style – your peers and reports might wonder why you are not acting “normally”. It is important to explain your change and what you are trying to achieve. Sharing your goal will inspire and encourage others to support you and hold you accountable.
5. Trust in the long-term benefits
One of the biggest challenges for managers using coaching for the first time, is to overcome the assumption that it is time-consuming. Perhaps that is the case at first but the more that individuals and teams are empowered, the greater their capability and confidence grows. This unlocking of potential will leave you with the headspace to do what leaders do best – planning, strategy and vision.
6. Maintain a beginner’s mindset
When you are new to something, you accept failure and this is core to the learning process. Someone who is inexperienced but who knows enough to recognize their mistakes can become frustrated with themselves. Remember the importance of an open mind and that there’s no such thing as perfection in coaching. We all have things to learn even those who have been coaching for 20 years!
7. Refresh learning where possible
I have been on the Level 1 Coaching for Performance programme more than once. In fact, employees at Performance Consultants are actively encouraged to attend multiple times. The reason for this is that every time I gain a new insight or become aware of something else about my coaching style. A refresh or reset is advisable to embed mindsets and skills over the long term.
I hope these tips and reflections on applying coaching skills at work are useful. We would love to hear from you on our social media channels if you have anything to add on how to apply coaching in the workplace. We are all on a learning journey after all!
If you want to chat to us about one of our in-person and online coaching skills programmes – give us a call or drop us an email: [email protected].
“The Leader as Coach”, Harvard Business Review
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Sir John and his colleagues at Performance Consultants were the first to take coaching into the workplace and coined the term “performance coaching” in the early 1980s. We continue to lead the field in performance improvement through coaching leadership training.
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